‘Hell is coming’: Europe melts
EUROPE is set to sizzle as temperatures skyrocket across the continent with potentially fatal consequences.
In France there are fears of a repeat of the horror heatwave of 2003 which saw 15,000 more people than usual die over the summer.
Three people have already died of suspected "cold shock" in the country after diving from the baking sun into the chilly sea and suffering cardiac arrest.
Spanish TV weather presenter Silvia Laplana warned "hell is coming" in a tweet with temperatures set to peak in the mid-40s.
"El inferno (hell) is coming," she tweeted alongside a weather map which showed most of the country coloured scarlet later in the week.
"Of course it's hot in summer but when you have a heatwave that is so extensive and intense, during which records are forecast to be beaten, it's NOT normal."
Temperatures are expected to be particularly sweltering in the northeast of Spain, with a stifling 45 degrees expected Friday in the city of Girona, and 44 degrees in Zaragoza at the weekend.
Five northern provinces were placed on an orange high alert for a heatwave on Wednesday, with another five to be added by the weekend.
Authorities in France have also issued urgent warnings.
The highest reliable June temperature previously recorded in France was 41.5C on 21 June 2003. And the country's highest ever temperature - recorded at two separate locations in southern France on 12 August during the same 2003 heatwave - was 44.1C.
But Guillaume Woznica, a French forecaster warned: "The latest forecasts leave little room for doubt: we are heading for a new national record."
Météo-France is predicting peaks of 45C in the southern towns of Nîmes and Carpentras on Friday.
A bubble of Saharan air has brought scorching heat across the continent this week, with June records set to be broken in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Britain could also experience a scorcher with temperatures climbing into the low 30s over the weekend.
Tourists in Rome and Paris scaled back their sightseeing in sweltering temperatures on Tuesday, dousing themselves at fountains and cooling down with ice cream as a heatwave continued in continental Europe.
Public nudists have come under fire in Germany as Europe sizzles in temperatures of up to 45 degrees.
In Brandenbug, police posted two pictures of a man riding a moped naked and called for captions of the images.
"Because we're speechless," said police, adding the hashtags #heat, #safetyfirst and #livingontheedge.
As contributions and queries poured in over whether the man flouted any rules, police clarified that it was not illegal to go around nude in public, but only so long as no one files a complaint.
Weil wir #sprachlos sind 😅: Wie würden Sie dieses Bild betiteln?— Polizei Brandenburg (@PolizeiBB) June 26, 2019
Als kleine Inspirationshilfe - ein #Zitat des Herren: „Et is halt warm, wa?“
Und jetzt Sie!#Hitze #safetyfirst #LebenAmLimit pic.twitter.com/BiM27ydDEy
In Germany's south, topless female sunbathers sparked a row after five fully-clad security men walked over to tell them to put their bikini tops back on, Sueddeutsche daily reported.
Several other sunbathers nearby stood up for the women, with one telling the newspaper: "We took off our bikinis out of solidarity."
With debate over the incident that took place over the weekend heating up, the Greens party brought the issue to Munich's city council.
"For me, it's incomprehensible if men can lie in the sun topless but not women," said Dominik Krause, among the initiators of the council debate.
The CSU, conservative Bavarian allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel, took another view, and instead tabled an urgent motion Wednesday requiring bathers to put on "swimwear that completely keeps their main sex organs covered" unless in an area specifically designated for nudists.
In Germany, where forecasters have warned a June record of 38.5 degrees could be smashed, speed restrictions were placed on some stretches of "autobahns" as the unusually warm weather raised the risks of "blow-ups" - the hot tarmac breaking up and shredding tyres.
A forest fire was raging north of Cottbus, the second-largest city in Brandenburg state, in an area that was just recovering from a fire in 2018.
It was deemed especially dangerous due to the risk of unexploded ammunition left in the area, which is home to a military training facility.
In a rare gesture by FIFA on Monday evening, fans were allowed to bring their own bottles of water into the Paris stadium where Sweden took on Canada.
Phil Neville, the England coach, was sanguine about the impact of the weather on the tournament, however.
"There's no excuse, the players are ready for it." Meanwhile, French beekeepers and farming groups said they were bracing for a "catastrophic" honey harvest this year after frost damage in winter, an unusually rainy spring, and, now, unusually high temperatures.
"In the hives, there is nothing to eat, beekeepers are having to feed them with syrup because they risk dying from hunger," added the union, which represents many small farms in honey-producing regions.
In the Baltic region of northeast Europe, crowds have flocked to lakes and rivers to cool down, leading to a spike in drownings.
Twenty-seven people were reported to have drowned so far in Lithuania where the temperature soared to an unusual high of 35.7 degrees Celsius.